Qatar put through virtual stand-still amid King Salman visit. The Saudi king was welcomed with grand festivities.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia arrived in Doha yesterday for a historic two-day visit to Qatar.
The state and the people of Qatar welcomed the King with a huge festival on the Corniche, banquet meals and the presentation of a sword belonging to Qatar’s founder, Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani.
The Monarch was presented the Sheikh Jassim’s sword by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, becoming the first person to ever receive “the highest national decoration”. The sword was given in as a token “to cement bonds of brotherhood between the two brotherly peoples”.
Qatar was the Saudi King’s second stop during the first GCC tour of his reign. He began the tour in the United Arab Emirates before Qatar, and will be visiting Kuwait afterwards, and then Bahrain. In Bahrain he will attend this year’s Gulf Cooperation Council summit.
He will however not visit Oman,the only GCC country excluded from his trip. Relations between Oman and the Kingdom have been slightly tense after the former formed closer ties with Iran, and did not take part in the Arab-led coalition.
The King assumed the throne on January 23, 2015, succeeding his half-brother King Abdullah, at the age of 79. He has since brought political reform and social change to the Kingdom.
It is estimated that the new King Salman gave away $32 billion in grants after his coronation, a sum larger than the whole annual budget of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. The money was given to professional associations, literary and sports clubs, bonuses to state employees, pensioners and students, as well as investments in water and electricity.